tv Presidential Debate ABC October 16, 2012 9:00pm-11:00pm EDT
>> announcer: tonight, i still believe in you. >> now i enjoyed my debate. >> i'm asking you to keep believing in me. >> i have a feeling i'll enjoy tonight's debate, as well. >> the rematch, the president. >> are you fired up? are you ready to go. >> with time running out can he turn it around. the challenger. >> i believe in america. i believe in you. >> will he repeat his come-from-behind win? now, face to face, again. it's "your voice, your vote," one on one, the presidential debate. now reporting from abc news election headquarters in new york, diane sawyer and george stephanopoulos. >> good evening and welcome to another championship round in presidential politics, the second debate, the rematch, and
we are looking at the arena. hofstra university just outside new york city and three weeks from tonight, americans will choose a president and, george, as we have seen in one night, so much can change. >> it happened two weeks ago, mitt romney came in behind with his back to the wall, 70 million americans watching. he rocked it with a big win. tonight the pressure on the president. another loss could cripple his campaign. he knows he has to convince voters he will fight for the job and has concrete plans for a second term. >> mitt romney connecting with voters and tonight the twist, it is a town hall format. >> the questions come from uncommitted voters. the moderator right there, candy crowley of cnn and covered politics since the days of ronald reagan. >> good evening from hofstra university in new york. i'm candy crowley from cnn's state of the union. we are here for the second presidential debate, a town hall sponsored by the commission of debates. the gallup organization selected
82 voters. their questions will drive the night, my goal to give the conversation direction and ensure questions get answered. the questions are known to my team only. neither the commission or candidates have seen them. i hope to get to as many questions as possible and because i'm optimistic i'm sure the candidates will oblige by keeping answers on point. they have two minutes to respond and there will be a two-minute follow-up. the audience here in the hall has agreed to be attentive and poli polite. no outbursts and we will set aside that agreement this once to welcome president barack obama and governor mitt romney. [ applause ]
[ applause ] gentlemen, thank you both for joining us here tonight. wove a lot of folks waiting all day to talk to you so i want to get right to it. governor romney, as you know, you won the coin toss so the first question will go to you and i want to turn to a first time voter, jeremy epstein who has a question for you. >> mr. president, governor romney, as a 20-year-old college student, all i hear from professors, neighbors and others is that when i graduate i will have little chance to get employment. what can you say to reassure me and more importantly my parents i will be able to support myself after i graduate? >> thank you, jeremy. i appreciate your question and thank you for being here this evening and to all of those from nassau county, thank you for your time and to hofstra university and candy crowley for organizing and leading this event. thank you, mr. president, for
being part of this debate. your question is one that's being asked by college kids all over this country. as in pennsylvania with someone who just graduated, this is in philadelphia and she said, i've got my degree. i can't find a job. i've got three part-time jobs. they're just barely enough to pay for my food and pay for an apartment. i can't begin to pay back my student loans so what we have to do is two things, make sure it's easier for kids to afford college and make sure when they get out of college there's a job. when i was governor of massachusetts, to get a high school degree, you had to pass an exam. if you graduated in the top quarter of your class, we gave you a john and abigail adams scholarship, four years tuition-free to the college of your choice in massachusetts at a public institution. i want to make sure we keep our pell grant program growing. we'll have our loan program also so people can afford school but the key thing is to make sure you can get a job when you get out of school and what's happened over the last four years has been very, very hard
for america's young people. i want you to be able to get a job. i know what it takes to get this economy going. with half of college kids graduating this year, without a college -- excuse me, without a job and without a college-level job that's just unacceptable and likewise you've got more and more debt on your back, so more debt and less jobs, i'm going to change that. i know what it takes to create good jobs again. i know what it takes to make sure that you have the kind of opportunity you deserve and kids across this country are going to recognize we're bringing back an economy, it's not going to be like the last four years, the middle class has been crushed over the last four years and jobs have been too scarce. i know what it takes to bring them back and i'll do that -- when do you graduate? 2014. when you come out in 2014 i presume i'll be president, i'm going to make sure you get a job. thanks, jeremy. yeah, you bet. >> mr. president. >> jeremy, first of all, your future is bright and the fact that you're making an investment in higher education is critical.
not just to you, but to the entire nation. now, the most important thing we can do is to make sure that we are creating jobs in this country but not just jobs, good-paying jobs. ones that can support a family and what i want to do is build on the five million jobs we've created over the last 30 months in the private sector alone and there are a bunch of things we can do to make your future bright. number one, i want to build manufacturing jobs in this country again. you know, when governor romney said we should let detroit go bankrupt, i said we're going to bet on american workers and the american auto industry and it's come surging back. i want to do that in industries, not just in detroit but all across the country and that means we change our tax code so giving incentives to companies that are skrefing here in the united states and creating jobs here. it also means we're helping them and small businesses to export all around the world to new markets. number two, we've got to make
sure that we have the best education system in the world and the fact that you're going to college is great. but i want everybody to get a great education and we worked hard to make sure that student loans are available for folks like you, but i also want to make sure that community colleges are offering slots for workers to get retrained for the jobs that are out there right now and the jobs of the future. number three, we've got to control our own energy. you know, not only oil and natural gas, which we've been investing in, but also we've got to make sure we're building the energy source of the future, not just think about next year, but ten years from now, 20 years from now, that's why we invest in solar and wind and bio fuels, energy efficient cars, we've got to reduce our deficit but got to do it in a balanced way. asking the wealthy to pay more along with cuts so we can invest in education like yours and take the money we've been spending on war over the last decade to rebuild america, roads, bridges, schools. we do those things not only will your future bright but america's
future will be bright, as well. >> let me ask you for a more immediate answer, beginning with mr. romney, just quickly, what can you do, we're looking at a situation where 40% of the unemployed have been unemployed for six months or more. they don't have the two years that jeremy has. what about those long-term unemployed who need a job right now? >> well, what you're seeing in this country is 23 million people struggling to find a job and a lot of them as you say, candy, have been out of work for a long, long time. the president's policies have been exercised over the last four years and they haven't put americans back to work. we have fewer people working today than we had when the president took office. if the unemployment -- the unemployment rate was 7.8% when he took office. it's 7.8% now. but if you calculated this unemployment rate taking back the people who dropped out of the workforce, it would be 10.7%. we have not made the progress we need to make to put people back to work. that's why i put out a
five-point plan that gets america 12 million new jobs in four years and a rise in take home pay and will help jeremy and people across the country unemployed right now and one thing that the president said, which i want to make sure that we understand, he said that i said we should take detroit bankrupt and that's right. my plan was to have the company go through bankruptcy like 7-eleven did and macy's and continental airlines and come out stronger and i know he keeps saying, you want to take detroit bankrupt. well, the president took detroit bankrupt. you took general motors bankrupt. you took chrysler bankrupt. so when you say that i wanted to take the auto industry bankrupt, you actually did and i think it's important to know that that was a process that was necessary to get those companies back on their feet so they could start hiring more people. that was precisely what i ely w happened. >> let me give the president a chance. go ahead. >> candy, what governor romney
said just isn't true. he wanted to take them into bankruptcy without providing them any way to stay open and we would have lost a million jobs and don't take my word for it. take the executives at gm and chrysler, some of whom are republicans, may even support governor romney. they'll tell you his prescription wasn't going to work and governor romney says he has a five-point plan. governor romney doesn't have a five-point plan. he has a one-point plan and that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules. that's been his philosophy in the private sector. that's been his philosophy as governor, that's been his philosophy as a presidential candidate. you can make a lot of upon and pay lower tax rates than somebody who makes a lot less. you can ship jobs overseas and get tax breaks for it. you can invest in a company, bankrupt it, lay off the workers, strip away their pensions, and you still make money. that's exactly the philosophy
that we've seen in place for the last decade. that's what's been squeezing middle class families. and we have fought back for four years to get out of that mess, the last thing we need to do is to go back to the very same policies that got us there. >> mr. president, the next question is going to be for you here and, mr. romney, governor romney, there will be plenty of chances to go on. >> let me try to answer -- let me try to answer and way off the mark. >> we'll let -- you certainly will have lots of time coming up because i want to move you on to something that is sort of connected to cars here and go over and we want to get a question from phil chipola. >> your energy secretary steven chu has now been on record three times stating it's not policy of his department to help lower gas prices. do you agree with secretary chu that this is not the job of the energy department?
>> the most important thing we can do is to make sure we control our own energy, so here's what i've done since i've been president. we have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. natural gas production is the highest it's been in decades. we have seen increases in coal production and coal employment. but what i've also said is we can't just produce traditional source of energies, we also have to look to the future. that's why we doubled fuel efficiency standards on car. any car you buy you'll end up going twice as far on a gallon of gas. that's why we've doubled clean energy production like windnd solar and bio fuels and all of these have contributed to us lowering our oil imports to the lowest levels in 16 years. now, i want to build on that. and that means, yes, we still continue to open up new areas
for drilling, we continue to make it a priority for us to go after natural gas. we've got potentially 600,000 jobs and 100 years' worth of energy right beneath our feet with natural gas and can do it in an environmentally sound way but also have to continue to figure out how we have efficient energy because ultimately that's how we're going to reduce demand, and that's what's going to keep gas prices lower. now, governor romney will say he's got an all of the above plan but basically his plan is let the oil companies write the energy policies so he's got the oil and gas part but he doesn't have the clean energy part. and if we are only thinking about tomorrow or the next day and not thinking about ten years from now, we're not going to control our own economic future, because china, germany, they're making these investments and i'm not going to cede those jobs of
the future to those countries. i expect those to be built right here in the united states. that's going to help jeremy get a job and also make sure that you're not paying as much for gas. >> governor, on the subject of gas prices. >> well, let's look at the president's policies, all right, as opposed to the rhetoric because we've had four years of policies being played out, and the president's right in terms of the additional oil production, but none of it came on federal land. as a matter of fact, oil production is down 14% this year on federal land and gas production is down 9%. why? because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands and in federal waters. so where did the increase come from? well, a lot came from the bock range. what was his participation? the administration brought a criminal action against the people drilling up there for oil, this massive new resource we have. what was the cost?
20 or 25 birds were killed and brought out a migratory bird act and go after them on a criminal basis. look, i want to make sure we use our coal, gas, nuclear, our renewables. i believe very much in our renewable capabilities, ethanol, solar, wind. an important part of our energy mix, but what we don't need is the president keeping us from taking advantage of oil, coal and gas. this is not mr. oil or mr. gas or mr. coal. talk to the people that are working in those industries. i was in coal country. people grabbed my arms and said, please, save my job. the head of the epa said, you can't build a coal plant. you'll -- it's virtually impossible given our regulations. when the president ran for office he said if you build one go ahead but you'll go bankrupt. that's not the right course for america. let's take advantage of the energy resources we have as well as the energy sources for the future and if we do that, if we do what i'm planning on doing which is getting us energy
independent, north america energy independent within eight years, you're going to see manufacturing jobs come back because our energy is low cost. they're already beginning to come back because of our abundant energy. i'll get america and north america energy independent and i'll do it by more drilling, more permits and licenses, we're going to bring that pipeline in from canada. how in the world the president said no to that pipeline i will never know. this is about bringing good jobs back for the middle class of america and that's what i'm going to do. >> mr. president, let me just see if i can move you to the gist of this question which is are we looking at the new normal? i can tell you tomorrow morning a lot of people will wake up and fill up and find that the price of gas is over $4 a gallon. is it within the purview of the government to bring those prices down or are we looking at the new normal? >> candy, there's no doubt that world demand has gone up but our production is going up and we're using oil more efficiently.
and very little of what governor romney just said is true. we've opened up public lands. we're actually drilling more on public lands than in the previous administration and the previous president was an oil man. and natural gas isn't just appearing magically. we're encouraging it. and working with the industry. and when i hear governor romney say he's a big coal guy, keep in mind when, governor, when you were governor of massachusetts you stood in front of a coal plant and pointed at it and said, this plant kills and took great pride in shutting it down and now suddenly you're a big champion of coal. so what i've tried to do is be consistent. with respect to something like coal, we made the largest investment in clean coal technology to make sure that even as we're producing more coal we're producing it cleaner and smarter, same thing with oil, same thing with natural gas and the proof is our oil imports are down to the lowest levels in
20 years. oil production is up, natural gas production is up. and most importantly, we're also starting to build cars that are more efficient. and that's creating jobs. that means those cars can be exported because that's the demand around the world and it also means that it'll save money in your pocketbook. that's the strategy you need on all of the above strategy and that's what we'll do in the next four years. >> but that's not what you've done in the last four years. that's the problem. in the last four years you cut permits and licenses on federal land and federal waters in half. >> not true, governor romney. not true. >> by how much did you cut them by. >> governor, we produced more oil -- >> how much did you cut licenses and permits on federal land -- >> here's what we did, governor romney, there were a whole bunch of oil companies -- >> i had a question and the question was how much did you cut them by? >> you want me to answer -- i'm happy to answer the question. >> all right. and it is? >> here's what happened. you had a whole bunch of oil companies who had leases on
public lands that they weren't using. so what we said was, you can't just sit on this for 10, 20, 30 years, decide when you want to drill, when you want to produce, when it's most profitable for you, these are public lands. so if you want to drill on public lands, you use it or you lose it. >> okay. >> so what we did was take away those leases and we are now reletting them so that we can actually make a profit. >> and production on government lands is down. >> no, it isn't. >> production on government land is down 14% and production -- >> what you're saying is not true. it's just not true. >> it's absolutely true, look, there's no question but the people recognize that we have not produced more -- >> i'll give you time. go ahead. >> on federal lands and in federal waters and coal, coal production is not up. coal jobs are not up. i was just at a coal facility where some 1,200 people lost their jobs, the right course for america is have true to all of the above policy. i don't think anyone really believes that you're a person who will be pushing for oil and
gas and coal. you'll get your chance in a moment. i'm still speaking and the answer is i don't believe -- >> if you're asking me a question. >> that wasn't a question. that was a statement. >> go ahead. >> i don't think the american people believe that. i will fight for oil, coal and natural gas and the proof of whether a strategy is working or not is what the price is that you're paying at the pump. if you're paying less than you paid a year or two ago, why then the strategy is working but you're paying more when the president took office, the price of gasoline here in nassau was $1.86. now it's 4 bucks a gallon. the price of electricity is up. if the president's energy policies are working, you're going to see the cost of energy come down. i will fight to create more energy in this country to get america energy secure and part of that is bringing in a pipeline of oil from canada taking advantage of the oil and coal we have here, drilling offshore in alaska, drying offshore in virginia where the people want it. those things will get us the energy we need. >> mr. president, could you
address because we finally got to gas prices here, could you address what the governor said which is if your energy policy was working, the price of gasoline would not be $4 a gallon here. is that true? >> think about what the governor said, when i took office the price was 1.80, $1.86. why is that? because the economy was on the verge of collapse. because we were about to go through the worst recession since the great depression. as a consequence, of some of the same policies that governor romney is now promoting, so it's conceivable that governor romney could bring down gas prices because with his policies we might be back in that same mess. what i want to do is to create an economy that is strong and at the same time produce energy and with respect to this pipeline that governor romney keeps on talking about, we've created -- we built enough pipeline to wrap around the entire earth once.
so i'm all for pipelines, i'm all for oil production. what i'm not for is us ignoring the other half of the equation so, for example, on wind energy when governor romney says these are imaginary jobs when you've got thousands of people right now in iowa, right now in colorado who are working, creating wind power with good paying manufacturing jobs and the republican senator in that -- in iowa is all for it, providing tax breaks to help this work and governor romney says, i'm opposed. i'd get rid of it. that's not an energy strategy for the future and we need to win that future and i intend to win as president of the united states. >> i have to move you along. >> he got the first question so i get the last question -- last answer -- >> in the follow-up it doesn't work like that but i'll give you a chance here, i promise you, i'm going to and the next question is for you so if you want to -- you know, continue on, but i don't want to leave all these guys sitting here. >> candy, i don't have a policy
of stopping wind jobs in iowa and that they're not phantom jobs. they're real jobs. i appreciate wind jobs in iowa and across our country. i appreciate the jobs in coal and oil and gas. i'm going to make sure -- >> thank you. >> taking advantage of our energy resources will bring back manufacturing to america. we're going to get through a very aggressive energy policy 3 1/2 million more jobs in the country, it's critical to our future. >> candy, i'm used to being interrupted. >> we'll move you both along to taxes over here and all these folks that have been waiting. governor, this question is for you. it comes from mary palona, sorry. >> hi, mary. >> governor romney, you have stated that if you're elected president, you would plan to reduce the tax rate for all the tax brackets and that you would work with the congress to eliminate some deductions in order to make up for the loss in revenue. concerning the -- these various
deductions, the mortgage deduction, the charitable deduction, the child tax credit and also the -- what's that other credit? i for got. >> you're doing great. >> oh, i remember. the education credits which are important to me because i have children in college, what would be your position on those things which are important to the middle class? >> thank you very much. and let me tell you, you're absolutely right about part of that which is i want to bring the rates down, i want to simplify the tax code and i want to get middle income taxpayers to have lower taxes. and the reason i want middle income taxpayers to have lower taxes is because middle income taxpayers have been buried over the past four years. you've seen as middle income people incomes go down and even as gas prices have gone up $2,000. health insurance up $2,500.
food prices up, utility prices up, the middle income families in america have been crushed over the last four years so i want to get relief to middle income families. that's part one. now, how about deductions because i'm going to bring rates down across the board for everybody. but i'm going to limit deductions and exemptions and credits particularly for people at the high end because i am not going to have people at the high end pay less than they're paying now. the top 5% of taxpayers will continue to pay 60% of the income tax the nation collects so that will stay the same. middle income people are going to get a tax break. and so in terms of bringing down deductions one way of doing that would be to say everybody gets -- i'll pick a number -- $25,000 of deductions and credit and you can decide which ones to use. your home mortgage interest deduction, charity, child tax credit and so forth, you can use those as fill in the bucket of deductions but your rate comes down and the burden also comes
down on you for one more reason and that is every middle income taxpayer no longer will pay any tax on interest, dividends or capital gains, no tax on your savings. that makes life a lot easier. if you're getting interest from a bank, if you're getting a statement from a mutual fund or any other kind of investments you have, you don't have to worry about filing taxes on that because there will be no taxes for anybody making $200,000 a year and less on your interest, dividends and capital gains. why am i lowering taxes on the middle class? because under the last four years they've been buried and i want to help people in the middle class and i will not, i will not under any circumstances reduce the share that's being paid by the highest income taxpayers and i will not under any circumstances increase taxes on the middle class. the president's spending, the president's borrowing will cause this nation to have to raise tacks on the american people, not just on the high end.
a recent study has shown the people in the middle class will see $4,000 a year higher taxes as a result of the spending and borrowing of this administrational i will not let that happen. i'll get us on track to a balanced budget and i'll reduce the tax burden on middle income families. what's that going to do, help those families and it will create incentives to start growing jobs again in this country. >> thanks, governor. >> my philosophy on taxes has been simple, and that is, i want to give middle class families and folks who are striving to get in the middle class some relief. because they have been hit hard over the last decade or over the last 15, over the last 20 years so four years ago i stood on a stage like this, a town hall and said i would cut taxes to middle class families and that's what i've done by $3600. i said i would cut taxes for small businesses, for the drivers and engines of growth and we've cut them 18 times and i want to continue those tax
cuts for middle class families said, if mall businesses. we're serious about reducing the deficit, if this is genuinely a moral obligation to the next generation, then in addition to some tough spending cuts, we've also got to make sure that the wealthy do a little bit more so what i've said is your first 250 tu$,000 worth of income, no change. and that means 98% of american families, 97% of small businesses, they will not see a tax increase, i'm ready to sign that bill right now. the only reason it's not happening is because governor romney's allies in congress have held the 98% hostage because they want tax breaks for the top 2%. but what i've also said is for above 250,000, we can go back to the tax rates we had when bill clinton was president. we created 23 million new jobs.
that's part of what took us from deficits to surplus. it will be good for our economy and it will be good for job creation. now, governor romney has a different philosophy. he was on "60 minutes" just two weeks ago and he was asked, is it fair for somebody like you making $20 million a year to pay a lower tax rate than a nurse or way bus driver, somebody making $50,000 a year and he said, yes, i think that's fair. he said, i think that's what grows the economy. i fundamentally disagree with that. i think what grows the economy is when you get the tax credit we put in place for your kids going to college. i think that grows the economy. i think what grows the economy is when we make sure small businesses are getting a tax credit for hiring veterans who fought for our country. that grows our economy. so we just have a different theory and when governor romney stands here after a year of campaigning, when during a republican primary he stood on
stage and said, i'm going to give tax cuts, he didn't say tax rate cuts, he said tax cuts to everybody including the top 1%, you should believe him because that's been his history. and that's exactly the kind of top-down economics that is not going to work if we want a strong middle class and an economy that's thriving for everybody. >> governor romney, i'm sure you've got a reply there. >> you're absolutely right. you heard what i said about my tax plan. the top 5% will continue to pay 60% as they do today. i'm not looking to cut taxes for wealthy people. i am looking to cut tacks for middle income people. and why do i want to bring rates down and at the same time lower exemptions and deductions for people at the high end? because if you bring rates down, it makes it easier for small business to keep more of their capital and hire people. and for me, this is about jobs. i want to get america's economy going again. 54% of america's workers work in
businesses that are taxed as individuals. so when you bring those rates down, those small businesses are able to keep more money and hire more people. for me i look at what's happened in the last four years and say, this has been a disappointment. we can do better than this. we don't have to settle for -- how many months, 43 months with unemployment above 8%? 23 million americans struggling to find a good job right now. there are 3.5 million more women living in poverty today than when the president took office. we don't have to live like this. we can get this economy going again, my five-point plan goss it, energy independence for north america in five year rns opening up more trade particularly in latin america, cracking down on china when they cheat, getting us to a balanced budget and fixing our training programs for our workers and finally championing small business. i want to help small businesses grow and thrive. i know how to make that happen. i spent my life in the private
sector and i know why jobs come and why they go and they're going now because of the policies of this administration. >> governor, let me ask the president about what you just said. the governor says that he is not going to allow the top 5%, i believe is what he said, to have a tax cut, that it will all even out so what he wants to do is give that tax cut to the middle class. settled? >> no, it's not settled. look, the cost of lowering rates for everybody across the board, 20%, along with what he also wants to do in terms of eliminating the estate tax, along with what he wants to do in terms of corporate changes in the tax code, it costs about $5 trillion. governor romney then also wants to spend $2 trillion on additional military programs even though the military is not asking for them. that's $7 trillion. he also wants to continue the bush tax cuts for the wealthiest
americans. that's another trillion dollars. that's $8 trillion. now, what he says is he's going to make sure that this doesn't add to the deficit and he's going to cut middle class taxes, but when he's asked how are you going to do it, which deductions, which loopholes are you going to close, he can't tell you. the fact that he only has to pay 14% on his taxes when a lot of you are paying much higher, you know, he's already taken that off the board, capital gains will continue to be at a low rate so we're not going to get money that way. we haven't heard from the governor any specifics beyond big bird and eliminating funding for planned parenthood in terms of how he pays for that. now, governor romney was a very successful investor. if somebody came to you, governor, with a plan that said, here, i want to spend $7 trillion or $8 trillion and then
we'll pay for it, but we can't tell you until maybe after the election how we're going to do it, you wouldn't have taken such a sketchy deal. and neither should you, the american people. because the math doesn't add up. and what's at stake here is one of two things, either, candy, this blows up the deficit because keep in mind, this is just to pay for the additional spending that he's talking about, $7 trillion, $8 trillion, before we get to the deficit we already have, or alternatively, it's got to be paid for not only by closing deductions for wealthy individuals, that will pay for about 4% reduction in tax rates, you're going to be paying for it. you'll lose some deduction and you can't buy the sales pitch, nobody who's looked at it that's serious actually believes it adds up. >> mr. president, let me get the governor in on this, governor, before we get into a vast array
of who says, what study says what, if it shouldn't add up, if somehow when you get in there there isn't enough tax revenue coming in, if somehow the numbers don't add up, would you be willing to look again at a 20% -- >> of course, they add up. i was -- i was someone who ran businesses for 25 years and balanced the budget. i ran the olympics and balanced the budget. i ran the state of massachusetts as a governor to the extent any governor does and balanced the budget all four years. when we're talking about math that doesn't add up, how about $4 trillion of deficit over the last 4 years, 5 trillion? that's math that doesn't add up. we have -- we have a president talking about someone's plan in a way that's completely foreign to what my real plan is and then we have his own record, which is we have four consecutive years where he said when he was running for office he would cut
the deficit in half, instead he's doubled it. we've gone from $10 trillion of national debt to $16 trillion of national debt, if the president were re-elected we'd go to almost $20 rielle hunte2 $10 tr. i foe what it takes to balance budgets. i've done it my entire life so, for instance, when he says yours is the $5 trillion cut, no, it's not because i'm offsetting some of the reductions by holding down some of the deductions. >> governor, i got -- i need to have you both -- i understand the stakes here and i understand both of you but i will get run out of town if i don't allow -- >> mr. president, i just described to you precisely how i'd do it with a single number people can put and put their -- >> let me -- >> mr. president, we're keeping track, i promise you and mr. president, the next question is for you so stay standing and it's katherine benton who has a question for you.
>> in what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace? specifically regarding females making only 72% of what their male counterparts earn? >> well, katherine, this is a great question, and, you know, i was raised by a single mom who had to put herself through school while looking after two kids, and she worked hard every day and made a lot of sacrifices to make sure we got everything we needed. my grandmother, she started off as a secretary in a bank, she never got a college education, even hoe she was smart as a whip and she worked her way up to become a vice president of the local bank, but she hit the glass ceiling. she trained people who would end up becoming her bosses during the course of her career. she didn't complain. that's not what you did in that generation, and this is one of the reasons why one of the
first -- the first bill i signed was something called lilly ledbetter bill. and named after this amazing woman who had been doing the same job as a man for years, found out that she was getting paid less and the supreme court said she couldn't bring suit because she should have found out about it earlier. she had no way of finding out about it, so we fixed that. and that's an example of the kind of advocacy that we need, because women are increasingly the breadwinners in the family. this is not just a women's issue, this is a family issue. this is a middle class issue and that's why we've got to fight for it. it also means that we've got to make sure that young people like yourself are able to afford a college education, earlier governor romney talked about he wants to make pell grants and other education accessible for young people. well, the truth of the matter is is that that's exactly what
we've done. we've expanded pell grants for millions of people including millions of young women all across the country. we did it by taking $60 billion that was going to banks and lenders as middlemen for the student loan program and we said, let's just cut out the middleman and give the money directly to students and as a consequence we've seen millions of young people be able to afford college and that's going to make sure that young women are going to be able to compete in that marketplace but we've got to enforce the laws which is what we are doing and we've also got to make sure that in every walk of life, we do not tolerate discrimination. that's been one of the hallmarks of my administration. i'm going to continue to push on this issue for the next four years. >> governor romney, pay equity for women. >> thank you, and important topic and one which i learned a great deal about particularly as i was serving as governor of my state, because i had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be
men and i went to my staff and i said how come all the people for these jobs are all men of the they said these are the people with the qualifications. i said, gosh, can't we find some women that are also qualified? and so we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. i went to a number of women's groups and said, can you help us find folks? they brought us binders full of women. i was proud of the fact after i staffed my cabinet and my senior staff that the university of new york in albany did a survey of all 50 states and concluded that mine had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in america. now, one of the reasons i was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort but, number two, because i recognized that if you're going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. my chief of staff had two kids that were still in school. she said, i can't be here until
7:00 or 8:00 at night. i need to be able to get home at 5:00 so i can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. we said, fine, let's have a flexible schedule to have hours to work for you. we'll have to have employers in the new economy in the economy i'll bring to play that are going to be so anxious to get good workers they'll be anxious to hire women. in the last four years, women have lost 580,000 jobs. that's the net of what's happened in the last four years. we're still down 580,000 jobs. i mentioned 3.5 million women more now in poverty than four years ago. what we can do to help young women and women of all ages is to have a strong economy so strong that employers are looking to find good employees and bringing them into their workforce and adapting to a flexible work schedule that gives women the opportunities that they would otherwise not be able to afford. this is what i've done. it's what i look forward to doing and i know what it takes
to make an economy work and i know what a working economy looks like and an economy with 7.8% unemployment is not a real strong economy and an economy that has 23 million people looking for work is not a strong economy and an economy with 50% of kids graduating from college that can't find a job or a college-level job, that's not what beef to have. i'll help women in america get good work by getting a stronger economy and by supporting women in the workforce. >> mr. president, why don't you get in on this quickly, please. >> katherine, i want to point out when governor romney's campaign was asked about the lilly ledbetter bill, whether he supported it, he said i'll get back to you. and that's not the kind of advocacy that women need in any economy. now, there's some other issues that have a bearing on how women succeed in the workplace. for example, their health care. you know, a major difference in
this campaign is that governor romney feels comfortable having politicians in washington decide the health care choices that women are making. i think that's a mistake. in my health care bill, i said insurance companies need to provide contraceptive coverage to everybody who is insured because this is not just a health issue, it's an economic issue for women. it makes a difference. this is money out of that family's pocket. governor romney not only opposed it, he suggested that, in fact, employers should be able to make the decision as to whether or not a woman gets contraception through her insurance coverage. that's not the kind of advocacy that women need. when governor romney says that we should eliminate funding for planned parenthood, there are millions of women all across the country who rely on planned parenthood for not just
contraceptive care, they rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings, that's a pocketbook issue for women and families all across the country and it makes a difference in terms of how well and effectively women are able to work. when we talk about child care and the credits that we're providing, that makes a difference in terms of whether they can go out there and earn a living for their family. these are not just women's issues. these are family issues. these are economic issues and one of the things that makes us grow as an economy is when everybody participates and women are getting the same fair deal as men are and i've got two daughters and i want to make sure that they have the same opportunities that anybody's sons have and that's a part of what i'm fighting for as president of the united states. >> i want to move us along here to susan katz who has a question and, governor, it's for you.
>> governor romney, i am an undecided voter because i'm disappointed with the lack of progressive's seen in the last four years. however, i do attribute much of america's economic and international problems with the failings and missteps of the bush administration. since both you and president bush are republicans, i fear a return to the policies of those years should you win this election. what is the biggest difference between you and george w. bush and how do you differentiate yourself from george w. bush? >> great question. thank you and i appreciate that question. i just want to make sure that i think i was supposed to get that last answer but i want to point out that i don't believe -- >> i don't think so, candy. i want to make sure. our timekeepers are working here. >> the time keepers are all working and let me tell you that the last part, for the two of you to talk amongst one another
and not in the order you think. go ahead and use this minutes any way you'd like to. the question is on the floor. >> i note that i don't believe that bureaucrats in washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not and i don't believe employers should. every woman in america should have access to contraceptives and the presid my policy is completely and totally wrong. >> governor, that's not true. >> let me come back and answer your question. president bush and i are different people and these are different types and that's why my plan is so different than what he would have done. for instance, we can now by virtue of new technology actually get all the energy we need in north america without having to go to the arabs or the venezuelans or anyone else. that wasn't true in his time. that's why my policy starts with a very robust policy to get all that energy in north america and become energy secure. number two, trade, i'll crack down on china. president bush didn't. i'm also going to dramatically
expand trade in latin america. it's been growing 12% over a long period of time. i want to add more so we'll have more trade. number three, i'm going to get us to a balanced budget. president bush didn't. president obama was right, he said that that was outrageous to have deficits as high as half a trillion dollars under the bush years. he was right. but then he put in place deficits twice that size for every one of his four years and forecast for the next four years is pore deficits almost that large. so that's the next way i'm different than president bush and the last one, championing small business, our party has been focused on big business too long. i came through small business. i understand how hard it is to start a small business. that's why everything i'll do is designed to help small businesses grow and add jobs. i want to keep their taxes down on small business. i want regulators to see their job as encouraging small enterprise, not crushing it and the thing i find most troubling
about obama care, well, it's a long list but one of the things i find most troubling is that when you go out and talk to small businesses and ask what they think about it, they tell you it keeps them from hiring more people. my priority is jobs. i know how to make that happen and president bush had a very different path for a very different time. my path is designed in getting small businesses to grow and hire people. >> thanks, governor. mr. president. >> well, first of all, i think it's important to tell you that we did come in during some tough times. we were losing 800,000 jobs a month when i started, but we have been digging our way out of policies that were misplaced and focused on the top doing very well and middle class folks not doing well. now, we've seen 30 consecutive -- 31 consecutive months of job growth, 5.2 million new jobs created. and the plans that i talked
about will create even more. but when governor romney says that he has very different economic plans, the centerpiece of his economic plan are tax cuts, that's what took us from surplus to deficit. when he talks about getting tough on china, keep in mind that governor romney invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing to china. and is currently investing in countries in companies that are building surveillance equipment for china to spy on its own folks. that's -- governor, you're the last person who is going to get tough on china and what we've done when it comes to trade is not only sign three trade deals to open up new markets but we've also set up a task force for trade that goes after anybody who is taking advantage of american workers or businesses and not creating a level playing field. we brought twice as many cases
against unfair trade practices in the previous administration and won every single one that's been decided. when i said that we had to make sure that china was not flooding our domestic market with cheap tires, governor romney said i was being protectionist, that it it wouldn't be helpful to american workers. well, in fact, we saved a thousand jobs and that's the kind of tough trade actions that are required. but the last point i want to make is this, you know, there are some things where governor romney is different from george bush. george bush didn't propose turning medicare into a voucher. george bush embraced comprehensive immigration reform. he didn't call for self-deportation. george bush never suggested we eliminate funding for planned parehood. so there are differences between governor romney and george bush, but they're not on economic policy, in some ways he's gone to a more extreme place when it
comes to social policy and i think that's a mistake. that's not how we'll move our economy forward. >> i want to move you both along to the next question because it's in the same wheelhouse. you will be able to respond but the president does get this question and i want to call on michael jones. >> mr. president, i voted for you in 2008. what have you done or accomplished to earn my vote in 2012? i'm not that optimistic as i was in 2012. most things i need for everyday living are very expensive. >> well, we've gone through a tough four years, there's no doubt about it. but four years ago, i told the american people and i told you i would cut taxes for middle class families and i did. i told you i'd cut taxes for small businesses, and i have. i said that i'd end the war in iraq and i did. i said we'd refocus attention on those who actually attacked us
on 9/11 and we have gone after al qaeda's leadership like never before and osama bin laden is dead. i said that we would put in place health care reform to make sure that insurance companies can't jerk you around and if you don't have health insurance that you'd have a chance to get affordable insurance and i have. i committed that i would rein in the excesses of wall street and passed the toughest wall street reforms since the 1930s. we've created 5 million jobs, gone from 800,000 jobs a month being lost and we are making progress. we saved an auto industry that was on the brink of collapse. now, does that mean you're not struggling? absolutely not. a lot of us are and that's why the plan that i've put forward for manufacturing and education and reducing our deficit in a sensible way using the savings from ending wars to rebuild america and putting people back to work, making sure that we are controlling our own energy but
not just the energy of today but also the energy of the future, all those things will make a difference so the point is the commitments i've made, i've kept and those that i haven't been able to keep, it's not for lack of trying and we're going to get it done in a second term but you should pay attention to this campaign because governor romney's made some commitments, as well. and i suspect he'll keep those too. when members of the republican congress say we're going to sign a no tax pledge so we don't ask a dime from millionaires and billionaires to reduce our deficit to invest in education and helping kids go to college. he said, me too. when they said we're going to cut planned parenthood funding, he said, me too. when they said we'll repeal obama care, first thing i'll do despite the fact it's the same health care plan he passed in massachusetts and is working well, he said, me too.
that is not the kind of leadership that you need but you should expect that those are promises he's going to keep. >> mr. president, let me -- >> whose promises are going to be more likely to help you in your life make sure your kids can go to college, make sure that you are getting a good paying job, making sure that medicare and social security will be there for you. >> mr. president, thank you. governor? >> i think you know better. i think you know that these last four years haven't been so good as the president just described and that you don't feel like you're confident the next four years will be better either. i can tell you if you elect president obama you know what you'll get. you're going to get a repeat of the last four years, we just can't afford four pore years like the last four years. he said that by now we'd have unemployment at 5.4%. the difference between where it is and 5.4% is 9 million americans without work. i wasn't the one that said 5.4%.
this was the president's plan. didn't get there. he said he would have by now put forward a plan to reform medicare and social security because he pointed out they're on the road to bankruptcy. he would reform them. he'd get that done. he hasn't even made a proposal on either one. he said in his first year he'd put out an immigration plan that would deal with our immigration challenges, didn't even file it. this is a president who has not been able to do what he said he'd do. he said he'd cut in half the deficit. he hasn't done that either. in fact, he downed it. he said that by now middle income families would have a reduction in their health insurance premiums by $2,500 a year. it's gone up by 2,500 a yearment and if obama care is passed, or implemented, it's already been passed, if it's implemented fully it'll be another 2500 on top. they're getting crushed under the policies of a president who hasn't understood what it takes
to get the economy working again. he keeps saying i created 5 million jobs, that's after losing 5 million jobs. the record is such the unemployment has not been reduced in this country. the unemployment, the number of people who are still looking for work is still 23 million americans. there are more people in poverty, one out of six people in poverty, how about food stamps? when he took office 32 million were on food stamps, today 47 million are on food starches. how about the growth of the economy. it's growing more slowly this year than last year. and more slowly last year than the year before. the president wants to do well, i understand. but the policies he's put in place from obama care to dodd hoi frank to tax policies to regulatory policies, these policies combined have not let the economy take off and grow like it could have. you might say you got an example when it worked better? yeah, in the reagan recession where unemployment hit 10.8%,
between that period, the end of that recession and equivalent period of time to today, ronald reagan's recovery created twice as many jobs as this president's recovery. 5 million jobs doesn't even keep up with our population growth. and the only reason the unemployment rate seeps a little lower is because of all the people that dropped out of the workforce. the president tried but his policies haven't worked. he's great as a speaker and describing his plans and his vision, that's wonderful except we have a record to look at and that record shows he just hasn't been able to cut the deficit, to put in place reforms for medicare and social security, to preserve them, to get us the rising incomes we need. median income is down $4300 a family and 23 million americans out of work,s th that's what th election is about. who can get the middle class a bright and prosperous future and
assure our kids the hope and optimism they deserve. >> don't go away. we'll have plenty time to respond. we're aware of the clock but want to bring in a different subject, mr. president, i'll be right back with you. lorena has a question for you about a topic -- >> for governor romney. >> yes and we'll be right with you, mr. president. thanks. >> is it lorena. >> lorraine. lorraine? >> yes, lorraine. ho you are you doing? >> good, thanks. >> president. what do you plan on doing with immigrants without their green cards that are currently living here as productive members of society? >> thank you, lorraine, did i get that right? good. thank you for your question. and let me step back and tell you what i'd like to do with our immigration policy broadly and include an answer to your question. first of all, this is a nation of immigrants. we welcome people coming to this country as immigrants. my dad was born in mexico of american parents, ann's dad was
born in wales, first generation american. we welcome legal immigrants into the country. i want our legal system to work better. i want it to be streamlined. i want it to be clearer. i don't think you shouldn't have to hire a lawyer to figure out how to get into this country legally. i also think that we should give visas to people, green cards, rather, to people who graduate with skills that we need. people around the world with a credited degrees in science and math, get a green card stapled to their diploma. come to the u.s. of a. we should make sure our legal system works, number two, we'll have to stop illegal immigration. there are 4 million people who are waiting in line to get here legally. those who have come here illegally take their place. i will not grant amnesty to those who came here illegally and put in place an employment verification system and make sure employers who hire people who come here illegally are sanctioned for doing so. i won't put in place magnets for people coming here illegally so would not give driver's licenses
to those who came here illegally as the president would. the kids of those that came here illegally, those kids i think should have a pathway to become a permanent resident of the united states. and military service, for instance, is one way they would have that kind of pathway to become a permanent resident. now, when the president ran for office, he said that he'd put in place in his first year a piece of legislation, he'd file a bill in his first year that would reform our immigration system. protect legal immigration, stop illegal immigration. he didn't do it. he had a democrat house and democrat senate, super majority in both houses, why did he fail to even promote legislation that would provided an answer for those that want to come here legally and for those that are here illegally today. that's a question the president will have a chance to answer right now. >> good. i look forward to it. lorena -- lorraine, we are a nation of immigrants. i mean, we're just a few miles
away from ellis island. we all understand what this country has become because talent from all around the world wants to come here. people are willing to take risks. people who want to build on their dreams and make sure their kids have an even bigger dream than they have. but we're also a nation of laws. so what i've said is we need to fix a broken immigration system and i've done everything that i can on my own and sought cooperation from congress to make sure that we fix the system. first thing we did was to streamline the legal immigration system, to reduce the backlog, make it easier, simpler and cheaper for people who are waiting in line, obeying the law to make sure they can come here and contribute to our country and that's good for our economic growth. they'll start new businesses. they'll make things happen to create jobs here in the united states. number two, we do have to deal with our border so we put more
border patrol on than any time in history and the flow of undocumented workers across the border is actually lower than it's been in 40 years. what i've also said if we're going to go after folks would are here illegally, we should do it smartly and go after folks would are criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community. not after students, not after folks who are here just because they're trying to figure out how to feed their families and that's what we've done. what i've also said is for young people who come here, brought here oftentimes by their parents, have gone to school here, pledged allegiance to the flag, think of this as their country, understand themselves as americans. in every way except having papers then we should make sure we give them a pathway to citizenship. and that's what i've done administratively. now, governor romney just said that, you know, he wants to help those young people too but during the republican primary he
said, i will veto the d.r.e.a.m. act that would allow these young people to have access. his main strategy during t republican primary was to say we're going to encourage self-deportation. making life so miserable on folks that they'll leave. he called the arizona law a model for the nation, part of the arizona law said that law enforcement officers could stop folks because they suspected maybe they looked like they might be undocumented workers. and check their papers. you know what, if my daughter or yours looks to somebody like they're not a citizen, i don't want -- i don't want them -- to empower somebody like that. we can fix the system in a comprehensive way and when governor romney says the challenge is, well, obama didn't try, that's not true. i sat down with democrats and
republicans at the beginning of my term and i said, let's fix this system including senators previously who supported it on the republican side. but it's very hard for republicans in congress to support comprehensive immigration reform if their standard-bearer has said that this is not something i'm interested in supporting. >> let me get the governor in here, mr. president. let's speak to, if you could, governor, the idea of self-deportation. >> no, let me go back and speak to the thes that the president made and let's get them correct. i did not say that the arizona law was a model for the in that aspect. i said that the e-verify portion of the arizona law which is, which is the portion of the law which says that employers could be able to determine whether someone is here legally or illegally was a model for the nation. number two, i asked the president a question. i think hispanics and people all over the country asked. he was asked on univision. why when you said you'd file
legislation in your first year you didn't do it he didn't answer. he doesn't answer that question. he said the standard-bearer wasn't for it. i'm glad you thought i was a standard-bearer four years ago but i wasn't. four years ago, you said in your first year you would file legislation. in his first year, i was just getting -- licking my wounds by having beaten by john mccain. i was not the standard-bearer. my view is this president should have honored his promise to do as he said. now, let me mention one other thing and that is self-deportation says let people make their own choice. what i was saying we're not going to round up 12 million people undocumented illegals and take them out of the nation. instead, let people make their own choice and if they find that they can't get the benefits here that they want and they can't find the job they want then they'll make a decision to go a place where they have better opportunities. but i'm not in favor of rounding up people and taking them out of this country. i am in favor as the president has said and i agree with him which is if people committed
crimes we got to get them out of this country. let me mention something else the president said a moment ago and didn't get a chance to when he was describing chinese investments and so forth. >> candy, hold on a second. the -- >> mr. president -- >> i'm speaking. >> i'm sorry. >> mr. president -- >> governor romney, i'm -- >> go ahead and finish, governor romney. governor romney, if you could make it short, see all these people, testify's been waiting for you. >> i'll just make a point. any investments i have over the last eight years have been managed by a blind trust and i understand they do include investments outside the united states including in chinese companies. mr. president, if you looked at your pension? have you looked at your pension? >> i've got to say -- >> mr. president, have you looked at your pension? >> you know, i don't look at my pension. it's not as big as yours. [ laughter ] >> let mow give you some advice. >> i don't check it that often. >> look at your pension. you have investments in chinese companies and outside the united states. you also have investments through a --
>> mr. president -- >> we're a little off topic. >> i thought we were talking about immigration. >> we were. >> i want to make sure -- >> if i could have you sit down, governor romney. >> i want to make sure we do understand something. governor romney says he wasn't referring to arizona as a model for the nation. his top adviser on immigration is the guy who designed the arizona law. the entirety of it, not e-verify, the whole thing. that's his policy. and it's a bad policy. and it won't help us grow. look, when we think about immigration, we have to understand there are folks all around the world who still see america as the land of promise. and they provide us energy and they provide us innovation and they start companies like intel and google and we want to encourage them. now, we've got to make sure that we do it in a smart way and a comprehensive way and we make the legal system better. but when we make this into a
divisive political issue and when we don't have bipartisan support, i can deliver, governor, a whole bunch of democrats to get comprehensive immigration reform done -- >> i'll get it done. the first year. >> we have not seen -- >> mr. president, let me move you on please. >> -- at all and it's time are to them to get serious on this. this used to be a bipartisan issue. >> don't go away because -- >> i'm here. >> i want you to talk to carrie who wants to switch the topic for us. >> hi, carrie. >> good evening, mr. president. >> i'm sorry, what's your name. >> carey. this question comes from a brain trust at my friends at global telecom supply. we were sitting around talking about libya and we were reading and became aware of reports that the state department refused extra security for our embassy in benghazi, libya, prior to the attacks that killed four americans.
who was it that denied enhanced security and why? >> well, let me first of all talk about our diplomats because they serve all around the world, and do an incredible job in a very dangerous situation. and these aren't just representatives of the united states, they're my representatives. i send them there. oftentimes into harm's way. i know these folks and i know their families. so nobody is more concerned about their safety and security than i am. so as soon as we found out that the benghazi consulate was being overrun i was on the phone with my national security team and i gave three instructions, number one, beef up our security and procedures, not just in libya but in every embassy and consulate in the region. number two, investigate exactly what happened. regardless of where the facts lead us to make sure that folks are held accountable and it doesn't happen again.
and, number three, we are going to find out who did this and we are going to hunt them down because one of the things that i've said throughout my presidency is, when folks mess with americans, we go after them. now, governor romney had a very different response. while we were still dealing with our diplomats being threatened, governor romney put out a press release. trying to make political points. and that's not how a commander in chief operates. you don't turn national security into a political issue. certainly not right when it's happening. and people not everybody agrees with some of the decisions i've made. but when it comes to our national security i mean what i say. i said i'd end the war in libya -- in iraq and i did. i said that we'd go after al qaeda and bin laden, we have. i said we'd transition out of afghanistan and start making sure that afghans are
responsible for their own security. that's what i'm doing. and when it comes to this issue, when i say that we are going to find out exactly what happened, everybody will be held accountable and i am ultimately responsible for what's taking place there because these are my folks and i'm the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home, you know that i mean what i say. >> mr. president, i got to move us along. governor. >> thank you, kerry, for your question, it's an important one and i think the president just said correctly that the buck does stop at his desk and he takes responsibility for that -- for the failure in providing those security resources and those terrible things may well happen from time to time. i feel very deeply sympathetic for the families of those who lost loved ones and today there is a memorial service for one of those lost in this tragedy. we think of their families and care for them deeply. there were other issues
associated with this -- with this tragedy. there were many days that passed before we knew whether this was a spontaneous demonstration or actually whether it was a terrorist attack. and there was no demonstration involved. it was a terrorist attack. and it took a long time for that to be told to the american people. whether there was some misleading or instead whether we just didn't know what happened, i think you have to ask yourself why didn't we know five days later when the ambassador to the united nations went on tv to say that this was a demonstration, how could we have not known? but i find more troubling than this that on the day following the assassination of a united states ambassador, the first time that's happened since 1979, when we have four americans killed there, when apparently we didn't know what happened, that the president the day after that happened flies to las vegas for political fund-raiser and the next day to colorado for another event, another political event. i think these actions taken by a
president and a leader have symbolic significance. and perhaps even material significance in that you hope that during that time we could call in the people who are actually eyewitnesses, we've read their accounts now about what happened. it was very clear this was not a demonstration, this was an attack by terrorists and this calls into question the president's whole policy in the middle easement look what's happening in syria, in egypt, now in libya, consider the distance between ourselves and israel, the president said that he was going to put daylight between us and israel. we have iran four years closer to a nuclear bomb. syria, syria is not just a tragedy of 30,000 sievians being killed by a military but also a strategic -- strategically significant player for america. the president's policies throughout the middle east began with an apology tour and pursue a strategy of leading from behind and this strategy is unraveling before our very eyes. >> because we're closing in, i
want to get a lot of people in and ask you something, mr. president and have the governor quickly -- your secretary of state, as i'm sure you know, has said that she takes full responsibility for the attack on the diplomatic mission in benghazi. does the buck stop with your secretary of state as far as what went on here? >> secretary clinton has done an extraordinary job but she works for me. i'm the president and i'm always responsible and that's why nobody is more interested in finding out exactly what happened than i do. the day after the attack, governor, i stood in the rose garden and i told the american people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror and i also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime. and then a few days later i was there greeting the caskets coming into andrews air force base and grieving with the
families and the suggestion that anybody in my team whether secretary of state, our u.n. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we've lost four of our own, governor is offensive. that's not what we do. that's not what i do as president. that's not what i do as commander in chief. >> governor, if you want to -- >> i certainly do. i think it's interesting the president just said something which is that on the day after the attack he went in the rose garden and said that this was an act of terror. >> that's what i said. >> you said in the rose garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror. it was not a spontaneous demonstration. is that what you're saying. >> please proceed, governor. >> my -- i want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days
before he called the attack in benghazi an act of terror. >> get the transcript. >> he did, in fact, sir, so let me call it an act of terror. >> can you say that a little louder, candy? >> he did call it an act of terror. it did as well take -- it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea of there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. you're correct about that. >> the administration -- [ applause ] >> -- indicated that this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction. >> it did. >> it took them a long time to say this was a terrorist act by a terrorist group and to suggest -- am i incorrect in that regard on sunday, the -- your secretary -- >> candy -- >> excuse me, the ambassador of the united nations, went on the sunday television shows and spoke about how it was a spontaneous. >> i'm happy to have a longer conversation about it. >> i want to move you on and people can go to the transcript and -- >> i want to make sure that all
these wonderful folks are going to have a chance to get their questions answered. >> because what i want to do, mr. president, stand there for a second. i want to introduce you to nina gonzalez who brought up a question that we hear a lot, both over the internet and from this crowd. >> president obama, during the democratic national convention in 2008, you stated you wanted to keep ak-47s out of the hands of criminals. what has your administration done or plan to do to limit the availability of assault weapons? >> yeah, we're a nation that believes in the second amendment and i believe in the second amendment. we've got a long tradition of hunting and sportsmen and people who want to make sure they can protect themselves. but there have been too many instances during the course of my presidency where i've had to comfort families who've lost somebody, most recently out in
aurora. you know, just a couple of weeks ago, actually probably about a month, i saw a mother who i had met at the bedside of her son who had been shot in that theater, and her son had been shot through the head, and we spent some time and we said a prayer, and remarkably about two months later this young man and his mom showed up and he looked unbelievable. good as new. but there were a lot of families who didn't have that good fortune, and whose sons or daughters or husbands didn't survive. so my belief is that, a, we have to enforce the laws we've already got, make sure that we're keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, those who are mentally ill, we've done a much better job in terms of background checks but we've got
more to do when it comes to enforcement but i also share your belief that weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don't belong on our streets. and so what i'm trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced but part of it is looking at other sources of the violence because, frankly, in my hometown of chicago there is he an awful lot of violence age they're not using ak-47s, they're using cheap handguns so what can we do to intervene to make sure that young people have opportunity? that our schools are working? that if there's violence on the streets, that working with faith groups and law enforcement, we can catch it before it gets out of control. and so what i want is a comprehensive strategy, part of it is seeing if we can get automatic weapons that kill
folks in amazing numbers out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill but part of it is going deeper and seeing if we can get into the communities and making sure we catch violent impulses before they occur. >> governor romney, the question is about assault weapons, ak-47s. >> i'm not in favor of new pieces of legislation on guns and taking guns away or making certain guns illegal. we, of course, don't want to have automatic weapons and that's already illegal in this country to have automatic weapons. what i believe is we have to do is the president mentioned towards the end of his remarks there which is to make enormous efforts to enforce the gun laws that we have and to change the culture of violence we have. and you ask how are we going to do that and there are a number of things. he mentioned good schools. i totally agree. we were able to drive our schools to be full one in the nation in my state and i believe if we do a sweater job on education we'll give people the hope and opportunity they deserve and perhaps less violence from that but let me
mention another thing and that is parents. we need moms and dads helping raise kids. wherever possible the benefit of having two parents in the home and that's not always possible, a lot of great single moms, single dads but, gosh, to tell our kids before they have babies they ought to think about getting married to someone, that's a great idea because if there's a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. the opportunities that the child will be able to achieve increase dramatically. so we can make changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence and give them opportunity and bring them in the american system. the greatest failure we've had with regards to gun violence in some respects is what is known as fast and furious. which was a program under this administration and how it worked exactly i think we don't know precisely. but where thousands of automatic and ak-47-type weapons were given to people that ultimately were given to drug lords, they
used those weapons against -- against their own citizens and killed americans with them and this was a program of the government. for what purpose it was put in place, i can't imagine. but it's one of the great tragedies related to violence in our society which has occurred during this administration which i think the american people would like to understand fully, it's been investigated to a degree, but the administration has -- has brought out executive privilege to prevent the information from coming out. i'd like to understand who it was that did it. what the idea was behind it. why it led to the violence. thousands of guns going to mexican drug lords -- >> governor, if i could, the question was about these assault weapons that once were banned and are no longer banned. i know that y signed an assault weapons ban when you were in massachusetts, obviously with this question, you no longer do support that. why is that given the kind of violence that we see sometimes with these mass killings, why is
it that you've changed your mind. >> candy, actually in my state, the pro-gun folks and the anti-gun folks came together and put together a piece of legislation and it's referred to as an assault weapon ban but had at the signing of the bill both the pro-gun and the anti-gun people came together because it provided opportunities for both that both wanted. there were hunting opportunities for instance that hadn't previously been available and so forth so it was a mutually agreed upon legislation. that's what we need more of, candy. what we have right now in washington is a place that's gridlocked. >> so if i could -- if you could get people to agree to it you'd be for it. >> we haven't had the leadership in washington to work in a bipartisan basis. i was able to do that in my state and bring these two together. >> go ahead, mr. president. >> first of all, i think governor romney was for an assault weapons ban but he was against it and he said that the reason he changed his mind was in part because he was seeking
the endorsement of the national rifle association so that's on the record. one area we agree on is the importance of parents and the importance of schools. because i do believe that if our young people have opportunity, then they're less likely to engage in these kind of violent acts. we won't eliminate everybody who is mentally disturbed and we've got to make sure they don't get weapons but we can make a difference in terms of ensuring that every young person in america regardless of where they come from, what they look like have a chance to succeed. and, candy, we haven't had a chance to talk about education much but i think it is very important to under? stand that the reforms we put in place working with 46 governors around the country are seeing schools that are some of the ones that are the toughest for kids starting to succeed. we're starting to see gains in path and science. when it comes to community colleges, we are setting up --
>> yeah, right. >> -- programs with nassau community college to retrain workers, including young people who may have dropped out of school but now are getting another chance, training them for the jobs that exist right now and, in fact, employers are looking for skilled workers and so we're matching them up. giving them access to higher education as i said, we have made sure that millions of young people are able to get education that they weren't able to get before. >> mr. president, i have to move you along here. you said you wanted to -- we need to do it here. >> just one second. because this is important. this is part of the choice in this election. when governor romney was asked whether teachers, hiring more teachers was important to growing our economy, governor romney said that doesn't grow our economy. >> the question, mr. president -- we're done here so i need to move us along. >> i understand but this will make a difference in terms of whether or not we can move this
economy forward for these young people and reduce our violence. >> thank you very much. i want to ask harold goldberg to stand up. she has a question that both these men have been passionate about for governor romney. >> the outsourcing of american jobs overseas has taken a toll on our economy. what plans do you have to put back and keep jobs here in the united states? >> well, great question, an important question because you're absolutely right, the place where we've seen manufacturing go has been china. china is now the largest manufacturer in the world. used to be the united states of america. a lot of good people have lost jobs. 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in the last four years, that's total. one reason for that people think it's more attractive in some cases to go offshore than to stay here. we have made it less attractive for enterprises to stay here than to go offshore from time to time. what i will do as president is make sure it's more attractive to come to america again. this is the way we're going to
create jobs in this country. it's not by trickle down government saying we're going to take more money from people and hire more government workers, raise more taxes, put in place more regulations, trickle down government has never worked here. has never worked anywhere. i want to make america the most attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs, for small business, for big business to invest and grow in america. now, we're going to have to make sure as we trade with other nations that they play by the rules. and china hasn't. one of the reasons or one of the ways they don't play by the rules is artificially holding down the value of their currency. because if they put their currency down low that means their prices and their goods are low. and that makes them advantageous in the marketplace. we lose sales and manufacturers here in the u.s. making the same products can't compete. china has been a currency manipulator for years and years and years and the president has a regular opportunity to label them as a currency manipulator
but refuses to do so. on day one, i will label china a currency manipulator. which will allow me as president to be able to put in place if necessary tariffs where i believe that they are taking unfair advantage of our manufacturers so we're going to make se the people we trade with around the world play by the rules. but let me -- let me not just stop there. don't forget what's key to bringing back jobs here is not just finding someone else to punish and i'm going to be strict with people who we trade with to make sure they follow the law and play by the rules, but it's also to make america the most attractive place in the world for businesses of all kinds. that's why i want to bring on the tax rates on small employers, big employers so they want to be here, canada's tax rate on companies is now 15%. ours is 35%. so if you're starting a business where would you rather start it? we have to be competitive if we're going to create more jobs
here. regulations have quadrupled, the rate of them under this president. i talk to small businesses across the country. they say we feel like we're under attack from our own government. i want to make sure that regulators see their job as encouraging small business, not crushing it and there's no question but that obama care has been an extraordinary deterrent to enterprises of all kinds hiring people. my priority is making sure that we get more people hired. if we have more people hired, if we get back manufacturing jobs, if we get back all kinds of jobs into this country then you're going to see rising incomes again. the reason incomes are down is because unemployment is so high. i know what it takes to get this to happen and my plan will do that and one part of it is to make sure that we keep china playing by the rules. >> mr. president, two minutes here because we are then going to go to our last question. >> okay. we need to create jobs here and both governor romney and i agree
actually that we should lower our corporate tax rate. it's too high. but there's a difference in terms of how we would do it. i want to close loopholes that allow companies to deduct expenses when they move to china, that allow them to profit offshore and not have to get taxed so they have tax advantages offshore. all those changes in our tax code would make a difference. now, governor romney actually wants to expand those tax breaks. one of his big ideas when it comes to corporate tax reform would be to say, if you invest overseas, you make profits overseas you don't have to pay u.s. taxes. but, of course, if you're a small business or a mom and pop business or a big business starting up here, you've got to pay even the reduced rate that governor romney is talking about. and many it's estimated that will create 800,000 new jobs, the problem is they'll be in china. or india or germany.
that's not the way we're going to create jobs here. the way we're going to create jobs here is not just to change our tax code but also to double our exports and we are on pace to double our exports, one of the commitments i made when i was president, that's creating tens of thousands of jobs all across the country. that's why we've kept on pushing trade deals but trade deals that make sure that american workers and american businesses are getting a good deal. now, governor romney talked about china. as i already indicated, the private sector, governor romney's company invested in were called pioneers of outsourcing. that's not mie phrase. that's what reporters called it. and as far as currency manipulation, the currency has actually gone up 11% since i've been president because we have pushed them hard. and we've put unprecedented trade pressure on china, that's why exports have significantly increased under my presidency. that's going to help to create
jobs here. >> mr. president, we have a really short time for a quick discussion here. i've had the max the iphones all manufactured in china, one of the major reasons is labor is so much cheaper here. how do you convince a great american company to bring that manufacturing back here? >> the answer is very straightforward. we can compete with anyone in the world as long as the playing field is level. china's been cheating over the years. one by holding down the vamg of their currency, number two, by stealing our intellectual property, our designs, patents, technology, even an apple store in china that's a counterfeit store selling counterfeit goods. they hack into our computers. we will have to have people play on a fair basis, that's number one, number two, we have to make america the most attractive place for entrepreneurs, for people who want to expand the business. that's what brings jobs in. the president's characterization of -- >> how much time we got, candy.
>> is completely false. let me tell you -- >> let me go to the president. we really are running out of time ainge the question is can we ever -- we can't get wages like that. it can't be sustained here. >> there are some jobs that won't come back, candy, because they're low wage, low-skill jobs. i want high-wage, high-skill jobs. that's why we have to emphasize manufacturing. that's why we have to invest in advanced manufacturing. that's why we've got to make sure we've got the best science and research in the world and when we talk about deficits, if we're adding to our deficit for tax cuts, for folks who don't need them and we're cutting investments in research and science that will create the next apple, create the next new innovation that will sell products around the world, we will lose that race if we're not training engineers to make sure that they are equipped here in this country. then companies won't come here. those investments are what's going to help make sure that we continue to lead this world
economy not just next year but ten years from now, 50 years from now, 100 years from now. >> governor romney -- >> government does not create jobs. government does not create jobs. >> i want to introduce you to barry green. he'll have the last question to you first. >> intarry. hi, barry. >> hi, governor. i think this is a tough question. each of you, what do you believe is the biggest misperception that the american people have about you as a man and a candidate using specific examples, can you take this opportunity to debunk that misperception and set us straight? >> thank you. and that's an opportunity for me and i appreciate it. in the nature of a campaign, it seems that some campaigns are focused on attacking a person rather than prescribing their own future and the things they'd like to do and the course of that i think the president's campaign has tried to characterize me as someone who is very different than who i am.
i care about 100% of the american people. i want 100% of the american people to have a bright and prosperous future. i care about our kids. i understand what it takes to make a bright and prosperous future for america again. i spent my life in the private sector, not in government. i'm a guy who wants to help with the experience i have the american people. my passion probably flows from the fact i believe in god. and i believe we're all children of the same god. i believe we have a responsibility to care for one another. i serveds a missionary for ply church. i served as a pastor in my congregation for about ten years. i've sat across the table from people who are -- were out of work and worked with them to try to find new work or help them through tough types and i went to the olympics when they were in trouble to try to get them on track and as governor of my state, i was able to get 100% of my people insured, all my kids, about 98% of the adults was able also to get our schools ranked
number one in the nation so 100% of our kids would have a bright opportunity for a future. i understand that i can get this country on track again. we don't have to settle for what we're going through. we don't have to settle for gasoline at 4 bucks. we don't have to settle for unemployment at a chronically high level. we don't have 0 settle for 47 million people on food stamps. we don't have to settle for 50% of kids coming out of college not able to get work. we don't have to settle for 23 million people struggling to find a good job. if i become president i'll get america working again. i will get us on track to eye balanced budget. the president hasn't. i will. i'll make sure we can reform medicare and social security to preserve them for coming generations. the president said he would. he didn't. >> governor. >> i'll get our incomes up and by the way, i've done these things. i served as governor and showed i could get them done. >> mr. president, last two minutes belong to you. >> barry, i think a lot of this
campaign maybe over the last four years has been devoted to the notion i think government creates jobs, that that somehow is the answer. that's not what i believe. i believe that the free enterprise system is the greatest engine of prosperity the world has ever known. i believe in self-reliance. and individual initiative and risk takers being rewarded. but i also believe that everybody should have a fair shot. and everybody should do their fair share and everybody should play by the same rules, because that's how our economy has grown that's how we built the world's greatest middle class. and that is part of what's at stake in this election. there's a fundamentally different vision about how we move our country forward. i believe governor romney is a good man. he loves his family, cares about his faith. but i also believe that when he said behind closed doors that
47% of the country considered themselves victims who refuse personal responsibility, think about who he was talking about. folks on social security who have worked all their lives, veterans who sacrificed for that country, students who are out there trying to hopefully advance their own dreams but also this country's dreams, soldiers who are overseas fighting for us right now. people who are working hard every day paying payroll tax, gas taxes, but don't make enough income. and i warrant to fight for them. that's what i've been doing for the last four years because if they succeed, i believe the country succeeds. when my grandfather fought in world war ii and he came back and he got a g.i. bill that allowed him to go to college, that wasn't a handout. that was something that advanced the entire country and i want to make sure that the next
generation has those same opportunities. that's why i'm asking for your vote and that's why i'm asking for another four years. >> president obama, governor romney, thank you for being here tonight. on that note we have come to an end of this town hall debate. our thanks to the participants for their time and to the people of hofstra university for their hospitality. the next and final debate takes place monday night in boca ra n raton, florida. don't forget to watch. election day is three weeks from today. don't forget to vote. good night. >> and there you have it. the second debate is over and it was a rocket ride fueled by adrenaline and you are telling us so much more. you are writing us about the fire in that room and, george, about the tension, the aggression a lot of people were saying in there, e-mails to us. i want to put a picture up there in the corner. there you see what everybody thinks is a picture that sums it up. "the new york times" photo tonight, how they were dealing with each other in that room.
>> that is the story of the night. both candidates decided they would rouse partisans and supporters, not worry so much about those uncommitted voters. many in the room who might squirm when they see that kind of tension as the candidates go at each other but, diane, what you saw tonight, look at that closing statement, president obama just gave talking about the 47% comment of mitt romney. that was the answer a lot of democrats were expecting in the first question to the first debate and you saw from the start of this debate tonight that president obama brought the debate to democrats needed to see from him. he unloaded on mitt romney, on just about every single issue. romney did manage to hold his own especially when he was talking about president obama's record, when he addressed the questioners directly but i think that he ended up getting into some trouble when he was arguing with the moderator and what could be the moment of the night, diane, is the exchange on libya. where governor romney said that president obama did not refer to an act of terror the day after the attack when, in fact, he
said he did and he was up by candy crowley, the moderator. >> all right. as always, let us go to our matthew dowd who was advising presidential campaigns over two decades. was there a clear victor. >> yeah, very clear. president obama gets the victory in this, not as overwhelming as mitt romney but he gets a victory and i don't want to mix a lot of sports metaphor but this was a heavyweight fight. he dropped the rope-a-dope strategy and he didn't knock him out but won on points. the points he lost over the last -- since his performance last time he'll gain some back. clear victory for president obama. >> i disagree a little. i think romney had one goal. he had to speak directly to the people, to the voters who voted for obama last time but they're unhappy with the pace of recovery and i didn't think he took as clear of a line to those voters but there was a big difference. tonight he had an opponent in barack obama. >> there's nicolle wallace.
how about donna brazile. >> president obama came tonight to play ball. he only took the game to mitt romney. he had concise answers, he was feisty, he was in command of the issues, the facts and from a stylistic point of view, he stood up, and he approached not only the person who asked the questions but he was able to respond to mitt romney, the things he didn't do a week ago. >> george will, was president obama the winner tonight? >> we're having a little trouble hearing george and we hate not to hear george. >> we'll get that as soon as we can. to jake tapper in the room right now. we heard that the obama team was out in force before the debate was even over spinning. >> that's right. and one suspects they were going to say president obama won this no matter what. but they are i think even some democrats not affiliated with the campaign very happy about
the president's performance saying he was aggressive, he was firm. maybe he started out a little sha shaky at the beginning a little too eager to mix it up with pitts but by the end democrats say people on the obama campaign say this is the president that the american people who like president obama know, assertive, aggressive and many of them citing that benghazi back and forth, george, you alluded to saying that mitt romney was wrong, president obama did use the term "acts of terror" in his remarks the day after, what happened in benghazi, george. >> one of the first tweets we got, by the way, jake, was someone saying, hey, president obama woke up. let's go now to david muir who's been covering the romney campaign. what are they saying to you? >> reporter: really fascinating to watch this in the hall here tonight, governor romney coming out first employing sort of a new strategy trying to connect talking to that student who asked that question, calling him by name, jeremy, asking him when he would graduate taking an interest in him. but i got to tell you this was quickly overshadowed by the
tension inside this town hall. these are two men who appeared not to like each other very much. that was very evident inside the room. what the romney campaign is saying that the president was too stride dent, that he was too negative against mitt romney, in fact, this struck me, they said he raised the volume of his voice but didn't improve the value of his argument. but i've got to tell you that moment in the room with that libya question that jake tapper brought up and george mentioned a moment ago was palpable, the room went silent then the applause and also on the pension, you could tell that the governor worked on that pension line asking the president if he looks at his own pension but the president turning that around and saying i don't look at mine, yours is much bigger so that will be fodder for tomorrow, as well. >> a lot of fact checking. we'll come back and talk to jon karl but we have to take a quick break. >> announcer: you're watching abc news, live coverage of the presidential debate. [ giggling ] [ laughing ]
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back up and the big question, george, was there a winner, and how much did it change things? >> the voters will tell us. i think there was a winner in the sense that barack obama not only gained ground he lost but caughter rised wounds that he inflicted on himself to be too dividend and disengaged. both tiptoed right up to the rudeness but stepped back. it was a very good fight. i have seen every presidential debate in american history since the floor of nixon and kennedy in 1960. this was immeasurably the best and i think the president's tactical victory was on trying to get mitt romney to unring a bell which he is very hard to do. first was on self-deportation and immigration. mitt romney probably gained some ground with hispanics by stressing something about which they're very unhappy, the president's failure to come up with immigration reform, but the self-deportation phrase that mitt romney used during the primaries is hard to get out
from under. and the president held his fire on the 47% until he had the last word in the debate. that is, he used it in his summation in a way that mitt romney could not explain or respond to so i think as a tactical measure tonight, the president did very well, indeed. >> so we have one absolute, the best debate george will has seen. so many of you noticed, we're fact-checking some events from home and our own john can karl is standing by at our fact check desk to do so. >> one of the big ones is that issue of the detroit auto bailout. really one of the real flash points in the debate is when governor romney said to th president, you say i let detroit go bankrupt but you wanted to -- but you let detroit go bankrupt. you, he said, took detroit into bankruptcy and he said that is precisely what i wanted and that's what ultimately happened. but, diane, there's a little bit
of a half truth here. it is true that under president obama's plan chrysler and general motors did go through chapter 11 bankruptcy. it was a managed bankruptcy, but they did it with $80 billion of federal money. that was the bailout in the auto bailout and that is something that romney opposed. he thought that money should come from the private sector and many experts said there wasn't money in the private sector for the auto industry at that point and then there was this one, i think this was actually the most heated exchange in the debate, it was on the question of oil and natural gas drilling on public lands. take a listen. >> the day after the attack, governor, i stood in the rose garden and i told the american people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. that this was an act of terror and i also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime. >> well, that was not the oil and gas exchange. that was obviously the benghazi exchange and, by the way, on
that, diane, the president did that day in the rose garden actually say, no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation talking about what happened there but it was another two weeks before he referred to that attack as a terrorist attack. but on this issue of oil and gas drilling, governor romney said that oil and gas drilling is down by 50% on public lands. that is not exactly true but it's not far off. in fact, we looked at the numbers and oil drilling permits on public land dropped by 37% in the first two years of the obama administration, 42% in terms of leases for natural gas. so the numbers weren't exactly right, but it is true that those drilling leases and permanents are down under president obama. >> okay. looking at it all, jon karl, want to bring in matthew again because we noticed the final time count according to one calculation, president obama had more time tonight. 44 minutes versus governor romney's 40 minutes.
first of all, what do you think of that and how is this going to change in the next few days. >> >> well, first, i think voters in the 60, 70 million won't come away with that impression but both these candidates had plenty of time to talk about what they wanted. i think what this may lead to is a bunch of conservatives and republicans attacking candy crowley. when that happens that is a sure sign that president obama won this. when you start attacking the umpire or ref, it means you left a lot of plays on the field. when you see that you know they know they lost. >> ed gillespie said candy crowley was wrong when she called out mitt romney on that. on this question of how much has changed. it does seem that president obama at least built a fire wall tonight coming off of that first debate. >> yeah, i mean i think that will probably be the conclusions but republicans can walk and talk and chew gum. i may not be able to right now but we can make the point that romney did what he needed to do and i don't think it's clear tonight that undecided voters as few as there are will be pleased
with obama's anger, his visceral attack on romney and i think what romney has done the whole time going back to the primaries is to put one foot in front of the other and to make his case methodically. he did not fail to do that tonight. he succeeded and really the big stark difference is that he had someone to debate tonight but i think the romney campaign will be able to make these points about candy, a fact he had less time, a fact that the room was stacked against him and it's a fact that candy played a more activist role than i think anybody expected. >> republicans lose debates they always find something wrong with the moderator or the referee, the point is is that mitt romney was not on his game. he didn't understand his positions, president obama understood his positions as well as mitt romney's previous positions. so tonight obama won because he was able to answer mitt romney and all of those things he said two weeks ago. >> diane, this race is at stake even more for that big debate coming up monday night. >> we thought the pressure couldn't get any higher.
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[ male announcer ] and see why millions have already switched to fios. there's never been a better time to get it. get our best price online guaranteed for a year, call the verizon center with no annual contract. for customers with disabilities at 800-974-6006 tty/v. once you've got it, you get it. abc news live coverage of the presidential debate. once again, diane sawyer and george stephanopoulos. >> and you heard george will call it the best presidential debate ever. diane, it certainly was the most fierce. >> and 67 million people watched the first one. we'll let you know about this one, thank you for joining us and don't forget a special edition of "nightline" coming up later. >> i'll see you first thing in the morning on "good morning america." >> and i will be watching. for all of us at abc news, have a good night. we'll see you tomorrow.